Wenger urges Xhaka not to 'punish' Arsenal

The midfielder was sent to the dressing room early again on Sunday to put the Gunners in a tight spot, and his manager wants to see more control

After being shown the second red card of a brief Premier League career, Granit Xhaka must temper his physicality to avoid punishing Arsenal, according to Arsene Wenger.

Xhaka, sent off against Swansea City in October, received his marching orders from referee Jon Moss in the dramatic 2-1 win over Burnley on Sunday, having lunged in on Steven Defour with his studs showing.

The Gunners survived on both occasions to claim all three points, but the manager knows the Switzerland international midfielder, signed in May from Borussia Monchengladbach, could soon end up costing the team dear as they attempt to keep pace with league leaders Chelsea.

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“Honestly, I have to look at it again,” Wenger told a news conference.

“The noises I get are that it was a red card. He has to control his game and not punish the team with [a] lack of control in his tackling. 

“We don’t encourage our midfielders to go down on tackles. We want them to stand up and not to make these type of fouls. If it’s a bad tackle, it’s a red card.”

Wenger was sent to the stands in injury time after appearing to push fourth official Neil Swarbrick, the Frenchman later expressing his contrition, although a Football Association sanction could yet await the 67-year-old.

“I regret everything,” he said.

“I should have shut up and … gone home, basically. And I apologise for that.”

Asked what he said to the match officials, Wenger added: “It was nothing bad. I said something that you hear every day in football. 

“Overall, nine times out of 10 you don’t get sent to the stands for that. I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual.”

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